Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has cancelled the press cards of 3,804 journalists over the past five years, according to Vice President Fuat Oktay, Turkish media outlets reported.
Oktay was responding to a parliamentary question submitted by Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Ömer Fethi Gürer about the number of press cards revoked by the AKP since 2014.
According to Oktay, 715 press cards were cancelled in the first nine months of 2019.
Press cards are issued by the Press Bulletin Authority, which until September 2018 was under the jurisdiction of the prime ministry and then was linked to the presidency after Turkey adopted an executive-style presidency following the presidential election of June 2018.
For years, journalists have been complaining that an independent journalism organization, not the state, should issue the press cards, but no steps have been taken to that effect.
The AKP government tightened its grip on critical journalists and media outlets following a failed coup on July 15, 2016. The government has arrested dozens of journalists and closed down hundreds of media outlets under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.